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Water Bicarbonate level

 
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monsterelf




Joined: 17 May 2017
Posts: 15
Location: Williamston, MI


PostLink    Posted: Sun Mar 07, 2021 5:07 pm    Post subject: Water Bicarbonate level Reply with quote


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Hey all, have a question on my water profile - specifically in regards to my bicarbonate level which is at 468, which seems really high compared to others Iíve seen. Iíve done a bit of research but have found mixed answers as to what effects this can have on beer. Generally, Iíve been cutting it with distilled water to drop the level but it ends up being a significant added expense when doing it batch after batch. Any thoughts on this? Is a high bicarbonate level significant if all the other levels fit within a profile?
Thanks in advance!



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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10895
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: Pub Ale, Electric Creamsicle, London Pride, Wit, Janet's Brown, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Belgian Quad, Belgian IPA


PostLink    Posted: Sun Mar 07, 2021 5:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi!

Bicarbonate (sometimes called Alkalinity which is just a different way to measure) isn't something I directly look at, only indirectly.

Quote:
Is a high bicarbonate level significant if all the other levels fit within a profile?

If the bicarbonate / alkalinity is high, the other levels will likely not fit within certain profiles (all depends on what you're targeting).
Go through my guide and try to make things fit to your profile with your water. If the numbers are too high, then it won't fit, because your bicarbonate / alkalinity is too high and you'll need to cut it with RO water as you mentioned you're doing.

For complete details see my WATER ADJUSTMENT guide for complete details: https://shop.theelectricbrewery.com/pages/water-adjustment
Read the section: "WHAT ABOUT ALKALINITY / RESIDUAL ALKALINITY? I READ THAT IT WAS REALLY IMPORTANT IN BREWING!"

For what it's worth, your sodium at 144 ppm is higher than what I'd like for brewing any style. We usually want to keep this as low as possible, typically between 0-50 ppm. If I had your water I'd probably always just RO system and "build up" water: https://shop.theelectricbrewery.com/pages/reverse-osmosis-filtration-system

At the end of the day it's completely up to you of course.

Any questions, please let me know.

Cheers!

Kal

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Last edited by kal on Sun Mar 07, 2021 8:38 pm; edited 2 times in total
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chastuck




Joined: 06 Oct 2013
Posts: 189
Location: Beckenham, Kent, UK

Drinking: Bitter

Working on: IPA


PostLink    Posted: Sun Mar 07, 2021 8:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As Kal has said, your alkalinity is way to high for brewing water. Your sulphates and chlorides, although balanced, are also very low if you want to brew stouts or bitters/pales. What Alkalinity you set for the mash will depend mainly on what style of beer you are trying to produce. For the mash a mid-style range of alkalinity for of 20-80 mg/L as CaCO3 (pales to porters) is what I would aim for. For most styles of beer sparge water alkalinity should be in the range of 20-30 mg/L as CaCO3. This is in order that undesirable elements in the grain, such as harsh-tasting tanins are not extracted into the wort. Here in the UK we would not cut our water with RO to get the right alkalinity and salt balance but use acids instead. For instance, I would add sulphuric acid 2M to lower the alkalinity and increase the sulphates for a bitter/pale. For a stout/mild/porter I would use hydrochloric acid 2M to lower the alkalinity and increase the chlorides. Mind you, as Kal also pointed out, your Na is way too high, so you may be forced to add RO or bottled water to reduce this anyway. You certainly can't make beer with your water the way it is.
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monsterelf




Joined: 17 May 2017
Posts: 15
Location: Williamston, MI


PostLink    Posted: Mon Mar 08, 2021 4:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks guys, I appreciate the feedback. That's kind of what I figured. I just hate the added expense and waste of buying distilled water. Was hoping someone had a magic solution Cross
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Timothy_W




Joined: 13 Apr 2021
Posts: 7



PostLink    Posted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

monsterelf wrote:
Thanks guys, I appreciate the feedback. That's kind of what I figured. I just hate the added expense and waste of buying distilled water. Was hoping someone had a magic solution Cross


Unfortunately, there is no magic. Since the quality of running water is such, then certain costs are needed to solve the problem. And then the choice is yours - which option to choose.
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